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Eurosatory 2024: KNDS and Rheinmetall present MBT unmanned turret concepts

KNDS unveiled its Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 MBT, which includes an unmanned turret, at Eurosatory 2024. (Janes/Nicholas Fiorenza)

KNDS and Rheinmetall presented unmanned turret concepts for main battle tanks (MBTs) at the Eurosatory 2024 defence exhibition held in Paris from 17 to 21 June. On 17 June KNDS unveiled its Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 MBT concept, followed later the same day by Rheinmetall with its Crew Unmanned Turret (CUT) for the KF51 Panther MBT.

KNDS managing director Axel Scheibel said the Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 unmanned turret does not intrude into the tank's chassis and that the three-person crew sits in a compact crew compartment that reduces the vehicle's occupied vulnerable area by 30%.

The turret is armed with a 120 mm L55 or L44 smoothbore, a 130 mm or 140 mm main gun with an autoloader, and a 4D fire-control system. At Eurosatory 2024, it was presented with a 120 mm L55 gun. Scheibel said there are 20 ready-to-fire rounds, the first three of which can be fired in 10 seconds. More rounds are stored inside the tank, with the total depending on the calibre of the gun. Current Leopard 2s have a total of 42 rounds. The Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 MBT can be reloaded from an ammunition box that Scheibel compared to a bottle box whose capacity depends on the calibre of the rounds.

The turret has a remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS) with a 30 mm secondary armament that can be employed against lighter targets, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). It also has a single missile launcher for a line-of-sight/non-line-of-sight guided missile with a range of at least 6 km that can be fired while the tank is moving.

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